… I received a letter from the President, Genl. Washington … to be Secretary of State … with real regret. My wish had been to return to Paris … to see the end of the Revolution … to return home, to withdraw from Political life …
In my answer of Dec. 15. I expressed these dispositions candidly to the President … but assured him that if it was believed I could be more useful in the administration of the government, I would sacrifice my own inclinations without hesitation … this I left to his decision.
I arrived at Monticello on the 23d. of Dec. where I received a second letter from the President, expressing his continued wish that I should take my station there, but leaving me still at liberty to continue in my former office, if I could not reconcile myself to that now proposed. This silenced my reluctance, and I accepted the new appointment.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Servant leaders lead where they are needed most.
In late 1789, Jefferson temporarily returned home from France, where he served as ambassador. Within days, President Washington’s letter reached him, asking him join the new government as Secretary of State. Jefferson didn’t want the job. He preferred to return to France, witness the peaceful end of their revolution within a year, come home and retire to private life.
He told Washington exactly how he felt, but offered willingly to set his desires aside if the President thought his services would be more helpful at the State Department. Washington reaffirmed his position in a second letter but respected Jefferson’s judgment, to serve in either capacity. With this affirmation from a man he respected greatly, Jefferson agreed to join the new government in New York City.
Had he made the other choice, he would have waited a long time for peace in Paris! The rebellion he thought would end within a year dragged on for many years, with great bloodshed and destruction.
“The positive comments from our staff and members continued
long after the conclusion of Thomas Jefferson’s remarks.”
Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Thomas Jefferson’s influence on your audience will endure!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739